How to handle a Christmas party bust-up

02 November 2017

Sadly, some business’ Christmas parties will be blighted by a bust-up. We’ve already talked you through setting your stance in advance, but in case that doesn’t work, we’re back to run you through how to best handle any unwanted altercations.

Nip it in the bud

First things first, if a verbal or physical dispute begins to unfold, promptly and calmly diffuse the situation by separating all individuals involved.

If the dispute was just a verbal slanging match, it might be enough to simply pull both employees to one side, talk them through it, re-iterate the standard of behaviour you expect, and make it clear that they’ll be kicked out of the party if there’s any more trouble.

More serious cases

It’s difficult to have a one size fits all solution. Essentially, it boils down to using your common sense and making a judgement call with regards to how you class the severity of the incident.

If it’s fitting to do so, you should try to give the employees involved the opportunity to salvage their Christmas party.

If the scrap is more severe, we’d advise you send the offending employees home and pick up with them on the next working day. Depending on the nature of the behaviour, this could be in the form of disciplinary action.

On rare occasions, the altercation may be too serious for you to deal with. In this instance, use your judgement as to whether or not you need to involve the police.

Gathering evidence

Once you’ve dealt with the situation, you should make a written note of the names of the employees involved and any witnesses – this includes colleagues and people who work at the venue, like a waitress, for example.

As well as this, if necessary, take photographic evidence of any damage or injuries incurred as a result of the altercation.

Gathering this kind of information is really important should you proceed with disciplinary action.

Consistency is key

Remember to be consistent with your sanctions. For example, if you discipline one employee and do nothing with other employees involved, you run the risk of facing discriminations claims.

We’ll help you fight your battles

Although we hope your Christmas party isn’t hindered by any hiccups, we’re here for you if anything happens.

With everything from policies and discrimination, to dismissals and tribunals, our industry-leading HR & Employment Law experts are here for you all year round. Get in touch on 0345 844 1111 or hello@citation.co.uk for a friendly chat.

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